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Do the police believe in rehabilitation?

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After a visit from the police, Russell felt like the police didn’t believe in rehabilitation, as they took no account of how he’d moved forwards with his life over the 8 years since his last offence.

I have been on the Sex Offenders Register (SOR) for five years during which time I have complied with everything and have never caused my police officer any concerns regarding my behaviour. I hoped that I had shown how I had moved on with my life and rehabilitated.

Now this is not a “oh woe is me” story, as I was guilty of my offences. I fully admitted what I’d done in court and I will live with the regret of what I did for the rest of my life; in particular with regards to failing my daughter as a father. I’m lucky that I still have a relationship with her as I appreciate there are lots of people with sexual offences whose families will have nothing to do with them,

Following a recent visit from the police I had to tell them that my daughter had given birth to my second grandchild (they were already aware of the first one). After sharing this with them, the police officer calmly told me:

We’ll have to notify social service who will be in contact with your daughter.”

My initial feelings were shock, followed by anger. “Why?” I asked. “It’s procedure” came the reply.

During the rest of the visit I went through a whole range of emotions anger, sadness, confusion. Many questions crossed my mind. Why does my daughter have to be contacted? What concerns do the police have? Don’t they take into account that it’s been eight years since my conviction and I have moved on, I’m rehabilitated. Do the police even believe in rehabilitation?

A couple of days later I made the phone call to my daughter that I’d been dreading, letting her know that social services would be contacting her. My daughter told me that social services had already contacted her. I apologised profusely for putting her through this and for not warning her prior to their call. She told me that the questions they’d asked her had been around the contact that I had with my grandchildren – was it supervised, was I left on my own with them. My heart sank, they obviously think I am a deviant paedophilic monster who would physically abuse my grandchildren. Surely that can be the only reason they’re asking.

I know what I did was wrong, I can never change that, no matter how much I wish I could. I was a weak, disgusting man when I was offending and I wish there was a time machine and I could go back to the moment before I first offended and start hitting myself around the head to stop myself but I can’t. All I can do is move forwards with my new life.

I am a stronger man now and will never offend again. As a person in a recent article on theRecord said:

I can never make up for what I did but I can do all I can to be the very best person I can be.”

This describes perfectly me today, but no matter how hard I try, it appears the police will see me as I was 8 years ago, a sex offender and a risk to everyone. The police may know of me, but they don’t know me. Because if they did they would find that I’m a nice guy. Perhaps, the police don’t want to know that some people with sexual convictions are nice people who have made mistakes and move on.

So my answer to the question is ‘no’. I don’t think the police believe in rehabilitation. But why, if part of the Criminal Justice System is supposed to work towards rehabilitating people who have committed offences. Is it because the police represent the society they serve, and society doesn’t believe in rehabilitation. Maybe an honest conversation needs to be had around rehabilitation, even though the answer maybe one I won’t like, that society doesn’t believe in rehabilitation. But at least I would know the truth.

By Russell  (name changed to protect identity)

Useful links

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  • For practical information – More information can be found on our information hub site on sexual offences
  • To discuss this with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum.

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